Marriage Kills Wills – EP Tip 3 – don’t be a victimPosted: March 24, 2014
Marriage and Wills
Have you just married, remarried, entered a de facto relationship or separated from your partner?
Congratulations – whatever the case may be.
Take stock though. You are exposed. And no … I’m not referring to changed bedroom scenes that accompany your new arrangements.
There are important legal consequences that flow from your changed circumstances that you should be aware of. A few examples follow.
Marriage kills Wills
Marriage annuls an existing Will. Die before doing a new Will and your new spouse gets the lot. For most first-timers this isn’t an issue but for those taking the plunge a second time … you may have children from an earlier relationship you wish to provide for. Your old Will is no longer worth the paper it’s written on.
Never had a Will? The outcome in this scenario will be the same. Bad luck kids. Shiver in the cold.
Acquiring property by stealth
Setting up house with a de facto doesn’t terminate a Will like marriage.
But be warned …sexually transmitted property rights … that’s another story. As time passes by you and your partner each develop rights in the property of the other. Rights that may conflict with wishes you have expressed in your Will – assuming you have one – almost 50% of us don’t.
Separation anxieties – you should have
Separation brings with it a whole range of emotional, personal and financial upheaval. One thing that doesn’t change however is your Will. Die before you have a divorce or property settlement and guess who gets your property?
If your will leaves everything to the one person you now wish would disappear out of your life, s/he gets the lot. Bugger me. Easy solution – do a new will.
Going without a fresh Will between separation and divorce is akin to having unsafe sex. Think prevention. The alternative is messy, embarrassing and costly.
Separate and die without a Will – guess who gets the lot under the intestacy laws? Who knows? It depends in which State you live. One thing is certain however … you won’t have a say in who gets what. You can bank on one thing – your new worst enemy is likely to get the lion’s share. Easy solution – do a Will.
It can be a lonely place to find yourself
Just as you would update your Facebook relationship status when you separate, your Will also needs to reflect any changes such as marriage, commencement of a de facto relationship, divorce and separation, oh yes and of course mention of any children that have been born. Doing a Will isn’t much more complicated than updating your Facebook…. although people of my generation might say Facebook is a lot harder. They may say ‘what Facebook’?. You get my drift though….
I regularly speak to people (clients are people) who admit they haven’t looked at their Will in a long time, despite entering into a new relationship or ending one. Too much other stuff happening in their head. It changes if you’re dead….if you could – you’d prioritise things differently. Maybe even do a Will.
If in doubt – talk it over with a professional
EP Tip # – 3 You should review your Will to make sure it is still appropriate in light of your changed circumstances and make a new one if necessary.
Separate – your Will survives. Will your legacy do the same?
My next EP Tip lots at Divorcing your partner and your Will.
Below are a few snaps of my recent trip to Antarctica to remind you how cold things can get if you don’t plan ahead.
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Disclaimer: this blog is of a general nature for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers should seek specific help for their specific circumstances.